Ladies, in this post in our series exploring our true identity, I want to touch on a REALLY touchy topic: our feelings. Oh, how much trouble these pesky critters cause us.
I know first-hand that some of us are genetically hardwired for sensitivity; that some of us feel everything so deeply that even sappy commercials (one of my favorites) send us running for Kleenex.
But it’s important for us to remember that God tells us to take our emotions captive — to halt our “Stinking Thinking” — when our thoughts and feelings spiral us into darkness.
Have you, like me, gone after a job and didn’t land it? Have you ever hoped to make a team, earn an award, slide into a relationship — but were ignored or rejected? It hurts, right? And when we’re hurting it can be a challenge to then believe in our self-worth and value.
What areas of your life tend to spiral your feelings into the muck?
Maybe it’s how you view your body. Or your job. Or your love life. Or the number of zeros in your bank account.
I’ll be real with you and admit that my thoughts can go dark fast when I compare myself to others.
Ain’t Nothing Good About Comparison
“If I were that pretty, I’d have a wonderful boyfriend, too.”
“If I were better at networking, I’d have her job.”
“If I were funny like her, I’d get invited to the cool parties, too.”
“If I were sweet like her, they’d love me more.”
When my friend Mindy recently tried on a swimsuit in a department store dressing room, she told me that got “real grumpy” that it was perfectly obvious that no one would mistake her for being actress Elle Macpherson’s body double. When Mindy later made the “mistake” of watching yet another sappy Hallmark movie, she got even grumpier. “I want Elle’s body!” she cried. “I want Prince Charming, too!”
Mindy admitted that on some days she gets downright jelly of the gals with perfect bodies and seemingly perfect “plus-ones.” Does that make Mindy shallow? No. It makes her normal, given the influences of our secular world. But Mindy’s coveting what she does not have places her in bondage, which is not God’s plan for her.
Ladies, we truly need to believe, as God says in His word, that we each — despite our self-perceived flaws and lacking — have tremendous value simply because He created us and loves us.
We can’t let our joy and satisfaction in life be determined by our appearance, our marital status, or any other competitive benchmark we set for ourselves.
God did NOT put us on this planet to be constantly comparing ourselves to others. He put us here to partner with Him to become our UNIQUE, best selves. We are one-of-a-kind creations, and we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put our unique gifts and talents to good use every day that He gives us breath.
Alas, we’re all so skilled at playing the comparison game that it can become our default. Haven’t we been practicing the game for a loooooooooooong time? Probably at least since kindergarten, when societal conditioning begins to seriously mess with our heads about our value.
Ladies, we have to remember that what God tells us in His Word is trustworthy. Our feelings, on the other hand, are NOT.
Feelings Are Fickle
Here’s the skinny: our feelings are FICKLE! Which means there’s a HIGH chance they’re NOT one bit true, even on a good day when the sun is shining and birds are chirping overhead.
Feel yourself unloveable? The Bible tells us that God’s love for us is high, wide, deep, and unceasing.
Feel yourself unforgiven? The Bible tells us that God forgives us the nanosecond we ask. And then forgets our sin!
Feel yourself not accepted? The Bible tells us that God’s arms are EVER open, ready to wrap us in the most amazing love hug. God is working, daily, to bring us back to Him.
Feel yourself uglier than a toad? The Bible tells us that God, the creator of all, sees our true beauty. In His eyes, we shine!
These truths are one reason God tells us to plug our brains into His Word DAILY. To memorize its truth, so that we have scripture to fight back with when the devil perches on our shoulder to whisper lies into our ear. Beat it, liar!
God is ALWAYS for us, no matter what the devil would have us believe. God offers us understanding, grace, and unlimited second chances—which means we can cut ourselves some slack, too. The Bible tells us that we UNLEASH spiritual power when we speak God’s Word out loud. And that when we praise God our spirits can’t help but lift—even when our feelings nearly have us convinced that we’ve tumbled to rock bottom and can’t rise again.
In Psalm 42 this refrain is mentioned TWICE: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 37 is one of my favorite scriptures to utter when I’m needing to put the brakes on my emotional rollercoaster. I particularly love the promise in verses 23 and 24: The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
Ladies, when your feelings try to get the best of you, correct your stinking thinking by choosing to believe this truth: no matter how badly we might feel about ourselves, God wants us to remind us of how valuable we are to Him.
I love how Christian writer Max Lucado describes God’s ceaseless affection for us:
God is for YOU. Not “may be,” not “has been,” not “was,” not “would be,” but “God is!” He is for you. Today. And this hour. At this minute. As you read this sentence. No need to wait in line or come back tomorrow. He is with you. He could not be closer than He is at this second. His loyalty won’t increase if you are better nor lessen if you are worse. HE IS FOR YOU.
The next time your feelings try to take you to a dark place, recite this truth out loud! Then head to your Bible to recite verses that speak to you of God’s constant care. Ladies, we must take our thoughts captive. We might feel like we’re alone, or unloved, but we never are. AMEN!
Our 12-Week Journey About Our True Personal Identity
Part of rightly understanding our true personal identity requires that we know how God sees us. As our loving creator, God says two things to us: “You are my child,” and “You are chosen.” Do you sense God’s heart toward you? Can you wrap you mind around the truth that God was thinking about you before He even created the world?
Let that truth sink into the depth of your heart and mind. It may take a lot of determination on your part, but as you begin to realize just how valuable you are in God’s eyes, you will be able to break the chains that keep you from accepting and loving yourself. Ladies, we CAN drop the burden of what other people think — and the judgments we hold for ourselves.
During this 12-week blog series, we’ll post about personal identity. Each post will include a song to remind us of the truth of how God sees us. Our song this week is Just be Held by Casting Crowns. Casting Crowns has it exactly right: You’re not alone. God’s on the throne. Just be held. Accept this truth to experience the true joy of being YOU!
This blog series is based on Josh’s book See Yourself as God Sees You. It is our prayer that during this series you come to recognize and accept your true personal identity! God couldn’t love you more!